Hey, look who’s twelve

I am. In NCSU years. (okay, I’m actually 17 and a half if you count the undergraduate days – but those don’t really count).

I’m not what the rule of thumb is for NCSU < = > real life years. I mean, there’s the state worker’s creed (“I was here when you got here, I’ll be here when you leave”). So maybe 12 is just a drop in the bucket in that context, but most days it feels like I’ve lived a life or two during that time. And maybe I have.

I honestly wondered two years ago whether I’d make it to eleven. There’s been some changes externally that made things more bearable. But maybe more, there’s been changes internally that made it easier to bear (or easier for others to bear with me).

I still haven’t quite yet found Zihuatenejo – and sometimes it still feels like it did at three days to two years.

But you know, it’s a good place. With good people.

I’m still learning. Maybe even I’m doing a little teaching.

I’m thinking more about those libraries and those chess pieces. I’m excited again about watching and interacting with colleagues across campus and across the nation. Twelve years (and 35) gives me the confidence to realize that that on a day or two, I do know what I’m doing – and more importantly on all the other days, to realize when I haven’t the foggiest – but the confidence that I’ll figure it out – or can find colleagues that can.

It’s not Zihuatenejo – it’s probably not even on the border on blank postcard from Fort Hancock, Texas. But I’m on the bus, I think.

And all in all, that’s a good place to be. It’ll be fun to see what Thirteen will bring.

Please to automatically upgrade my books

In an OMG-I-can’t-believe-I’m-linking-to-Nick-Carr-moment – he’s worrying and lamenting and passing along plausible scare tactic scenarios of the brave new world of e-books and the potential for updates.

I totally get the fear. Although I don’t trust it one iota coming from Nick. The one publishing model that changes everything here is the one model he fears more than revisionism – at least in its Wikipedia form.

But here’s the thing, here’s what changes the revisionist fear. And here’s what makes the e-book demonstrably better than the printed version. And of course, you can come to the same worst-case scenarios about modifications here too – but the solution to all of this?

The change log.

Give me the updates. Make the changes. Keep the copy updated – change it totally in the middle of the night while I wasn’t looking. Change your mind a thousand times about the meaning of the word “is” But give me the revision history. Give me the who, what, when, and how. Give me the diffs. Give me the discussion. That changes revisionism completely.

Now I don’t think we’ll be getting this either. Because revisionists fear transparency. And those that fear revisionists seem to fear transparency more than they fear revisionism.

History isn’t and shouldn’t be immutable – but the revision history can and should be. And that changes everything.

A traffic mishap – immortalized

I noticed this a while back, but wanted to blog it now that I was checking out the new version of Google Earth

I’m pretty fascinated by photography. How it enables you to freeze for all time a span of time – in this case 1/1600th of a second.

Ice Eclipse

So what does this have to do with Google Earth? Well, it’s an interesting world in which we live in this new information era.

Maybe for example, you are flying around in Earth, checking out your work building and you see something “different”

google-earth-1

So you zoom in.

google-earth

And realize that a traffic mishap is immortalized for a time – or at least until Google gets new aerials.

It is kind of a frustrating intersection, as the street view bears out

Interesting world it is, isn’t it?

I got your brand right here.

I like your blog Dan Benjamin, I really do. But Good grief.

Look man. I’m all about the conversation, you know? And Dan, I get your point. Everything, when it comes down to it – is about the conversation. And the trust that that the person I’m having that conversation has in me, and I them. And we’re visual creatures. Having an anchor to tie to that trust-building is all fine and good.

But it’s more than logo, image, and avatar. The trust, the words, the work, and yes maybe even my silly pup avatar is my brand. My brand is me. And those things are me.

You know what? At the end of the day, I’m not trying to build my Andre the Giant Posse. I’m not shouting with a megaphone to build what amounts to an impersonal relationship a few thousand followers. I’m just here with my work, my words, my one-at-a-time-relationship building with friends, family, co-workers, and random JoeBob on the street that find some humor or bemusement, or connection in silly phatic messages or any of a number of other ways real people build real relationships.

To Dan, and others like him that might feel the same – my “squiggles”, my “swooshes”, and damn sure the pictures of my pups are me. And my “brand” They are not an attempt “to hide my identity, or to create a make-believe personality or facade.”

Buddy, we – and the others like me, are as Work Wide Open than those whose “voices are heard above the crowd” And are just here, on the ground, trying to make a little bit of difference. Not quite ever content with the status quo, but finding contentment in the “Esse Quam Videri” – “To be, rather to seem” – that is the voice that matters most of all in this life. That inside voice we connect with others. Not this blog, not my visage, – just that “being”

So next time you want to make a point about the value of consistency and logo recognition and branding? Don’t use impersonal popularity and some cockamamie horse manure about how not using faces and cartoons is a “facade” to make your point.

I’m more real than my “avatar.”

And oh btw, so’s my dog.

Phbbbbbbttt!

ILD Teleservices – Telecom Bottom Feeders

We are some of those very rare communication consumers that have actually gone back to having traditional plain old telephone service (POTS, or the colloquial ‘land-line’). My wife and I both for many years prior to being in our current house were cell-phone only customers. But we are just far enough out to be in a limited service area for cell service. In the winter it’s ok, in the summer when the leaves fill out, the service is not even reliable enough to be sure we could make an emergency call.

So after weighing options, we went with POTS service with our local monopoly provider – Embarq.

The service has been reliable and the customer service good actually. Their web service for billing/payment is horrendous, but I expect that from the monopoly providers. One of the issues that we’ve run into is that we apparently inherited the phone number that belonged to a person with some, “financial difficulties” – so we get robocalls from creditors (some of which are just awful. The continued “if you are not this person, then please hang up” calls are the worst).

It was all well and good, until this bill this month, where we had a $7.70 charge – $7.20 + $.50 taxes from a “third-party provider” named ILD Teleservices. For a three minute “collect call.” That happened when we were out of town for the weekend.

I called Embarq. Who actually blamed it on me. “It must have been a service you signed up for”

UM, NO – I WAS OUT OF TOWN.

“Well, this isn’t our charge, there’s a customer service number for ILD Teleservices on your bill, call them, and they’ll credit you.

HOW DO I GET THESE TO STOP?

“We’ll put a block on that company for you”

I WANT A BLOCK ON ALL THIRD-PARTY CHARGES.

“Ok, we can do that. By the way, do you have television service?”

I AM NOT INTERESTED IN ANYTHING YOU HAVE TO SELL.

“Well, okay, we have Dish Network for $9.95”

Sigh.

I then called ** ILD Teleservices**. After searching in Google and finding hundreds of similar reports. I was on hold for 15 minutes or so. And without actually any explanation on my part – the person said “I see you have a charge, do you remember taking a collect call?”

NO.

(without skipping a beat) “We’ll be crediting you, and your local phone company will refund the taxes, it will take 1-3 billing cycles”

This is nuts. Absolutely nuts.

This has to be one of the most corrupt industry practices I can imagine. ILD Teleservices and Embarq have joined together into this “Let’s just randomly bill people, and see if they notice”

When Google finds this post – and you have found yourself billed by ** ILD Teleservices** and Embarq in the same manner? It’s a scam – a corrupt and unethical business practice. Pure and simple. So get your money back.